Though it’s a fairly common condition affecting nearly 1 out of every 10 American women, some aspects of PCOS aren’t talked about as much as others — namely the way it impacts mental health.
At Women’s Health Services, our team of PCOS specialists, led by Dr. Joan Bergstrom, knows that PCOS is not a simple condition. Here, we take a closer look at PCOS, its mental health impact, and ways you can manage it.
A closer look at PCOS
PCOS is a hormonal condition that occurs when your body produces too many androgens, or male hormones. This phenomenon usually stems from an underlying condition such as excessive insulin, polycystic ovaries, or chronic inflammation, but it can also be genetic.
You may wonder why you have any male hormones at all. The answer is, every woman has small amounts of androgens — namely testosterone. Women need it for a variety of functions, including:
- Bone health
- Breast health
- Sex drive
- Menstrual health
- Vaginal health
Typically, you produce around one-tenth to one-twentieth the amount of testosterone as your male counterparts. When you overproduce androgens, like testosterone, your body and your health change considerably. Here’s how.
PCOS and you
Because PCOS involves an uptick in your body’s production of male hormones, some of the first things to change are often physical. For instance, if you have PCOS, you may have more acne and hair on your face, back, chest, and belly. Conversely, the condition may contribute to balding.
Other issues that arise from PCOS include:
- Irregular periods
- Weight gain
- Chronic headaches
- Painful ovarian cysts
- Infertility issues, such as miscarriages or premature birth
- Sleep apnea
- Insulin resistance
- Increased risk of conditions, such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease
These complications combined with the violent swings in your hormone levels can lead to mental health issues. One study found that women with PCOS are at a significantly increased risk of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
What you can do about PCOS
Though PCOS can be overwhelming, it’s not impossible to overcome. We take into account your whole health history and create a treatment plan with the exact combination of treatments that work best for you.
Depending on your unique needs, your PCOS treatments may include:
- Hormone therapy, such as hormonal birth control
- Fertility medications and interventions
- Hair removal and growth treatments
- Insulin treatments
If you’re struggling with PCOS and are ready to find relief from all your symptoms, don’t hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone at either of our two offices in Arlington, Texas.